Geoffrey Rush is preparing to return to the stage, after launching defamation action against Sydney’s Daily Telegraph, which labelled him “King Leer” and accused him of inappropriate behaviour towards a female cast member.
Rush has vigorously denied the newspaper’s allegations, which were alleged to have happened when he starred in the Sydney Theatre Company’s production of King Lear in 2015. The matter will be heard in September.
The Melbourne Theatre Company has confirmed to ABC News that the Oscar winner will commence rehearsals in October for another Shakespearean play — this time the comedy Twelfth Night.
Simon Phillips will direct the MTC production, in which Rush will play Malvolio.
In a promotional video, he described the character as “one of the great, complicated idiots [Shakespeare] writes so well”.
The cast includes Frank Woodley, Christie Whelan Browne and Richard Piper.
In April, Rush’s lawyers lodged an affidavit with the Federal Court that claimed the actor had suffered significantly due to the Daily Telegraph front-page story, which was picked up around the world.
Rush described having been “virtually housebound” for three months, feeling “uncomfortable in public”, barely eating, and waking up “every morning with a terrible sense of dread about his future career”.
Last August, MTC revealed Rush would headline Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night from November 12 this year.
Single tickets for the play sold briskly after they went on sale on Thursday. Within hours, the ticket allocation for several performances was exhausted.
Also this week, Sony Pictures Worldwide announced it had acquired the Australian distribution rights to the remake of Storm Boy, in which Rush stars.
Studio Canal was due to release the film this year but passed on the rights to Sony, which plans a 2019 release in Australia and New Zealand.